HOUSTON – LINK Houston has issued the following letter on March 23, 2023, to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) Board of Directors ahead of their March 2023 Board Meeting to recommend the traits and values needed in the next METRO President and Chief Executive Officer. We stand ready to assist METRO in the selection of this position to ensure that safe, accessible, climate-just multimodal transportation is prioritized and expanded now and in the years to come. 



LINK Houston is a non-profit organization that advocates for a robust and equitable transportation network so that all people can reach opportunity. For more information, please visit 


Nick Arcos 

Director Of Communications 

Mobile: (713) 906-8345 


March 23, 2023  

Chair Sanjay Ramabhadram, P.E.  

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County   

1900 Main St.  

Houston, Texas 77002  


Dear Chair Ramabhadran and METRO Board of Directors:  

We write to offer our recommendations on the expertise and qualities for METRO’s next President and Chief Executive Officer.   

LINK Houston advocates for a robust and equitable transportation network so that all people can reach opportunity. We appreciate outgoing CEO Thomas Lambert’s cooperative spirit as we have worked together on this shared mission. We congratulate him on 44 years of service with the agency and wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.  

As METRO begins searching for Mr. Lambert’s successor, we believe a leader with the following skills, experiences, and values will be well-equipped to lead the agency through its crucial future initiatives.  

  • METRO’s next CEO must be a regular public transit rider. Those who make transit part of their daily life have an invaluable perspective towards the practical usability of the METRO system. Truly understanding the full transit experience – conveniences and challenges alike – will inform this leader as they work to bolster and expand the system.  
  • METRO’s next CEO must be strongly committed to prioritizing transit riders in the design and construction of METRONext. In LINK Houston’s outreach, we consistently hear views from riders and their families: make transit faster, more frequent, repair the sidewalk or shelter, extend service hours and make sure the bus shows up, does not leave early, and does not pass riders waiting at their stop. Houston is only as good as the opportunities the city provides to individuals and families. METRO connects people to these opportunities. Selecting a new CEO who has the bold courage to make the transit experience equal to the driving experience will help ensure METRO robustly improves service for its existing riders and attracts new riders in the process.  
  • We believe that METRO’s next CEO must be representative of the many diverse communities of Greater Houston. The METRO service area is home to millions of people with a wide variety of ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds. METRO’s ridership is even more diverse. A CEO from a historically excluded community will bring an essential perspective to the conversation, and METRO riders will be assured to see themselves represented in the agency’s leadership. We urge the search committee to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in its recruitment of qualified candidates.  
  • Finally, METRO must center the voices of active transit riders as part of the search committee process. Active riders understand the transit system, both its benefits as well as its challenges, and will bring a valuable perspective to the search. We urge the METRO Board to invite at least one active rider of the fixed route system, one cyclist that uses both a bicycle and METRO’s fixed route system, as well as one rider of the METROLift service to join the search committee. LINK Houston stands ready to vet potential search committee candidates and make recommendations to the METRO board.  

Our region’s leaders have set ambitious goals around climate action, traffic safety, and urban resilience. Increasing the use of public transit through the METRONext program is a critical instrument towards achieving those goals. We believe a CEO with the qualities described above, and community support will be best equipped to advancing plans for how millions of Houstonians travel in our region. We are available to assist you in any way possible and sincerely hope you will consider us a partner as you navigate this process.  


Amanda Timm 

LINK Houston Board of Directors, Chair  

Gabe Cazares  

LINK Houston, Executive Director  


Cc: Thomas C. Lambert  

President & Chief Executive Officer  

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County  

Thomas Jasien  

Deputy Chief Executive Officer  

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County  

Karen Kauffman  

Chief Human Resources Officer  

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County  

Rosa Diaz-Hernandez  

Director of Board Support  

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County